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FHS 1: God and Israel in the Old Testament

Course Description

The paper will include questions on such topics as the origins and purpose of Deuteronomy; the development of Israelite law; the theology and setting of Isaiah of Jerusalem; Deutero-Isaiah; psalmody and the Psalms; worship and festivals; the history of Israel; pentateuchal issues; the covenant; prophecy and particular prophets; wisdom; apocalyptic; the fate of the individual; creation; the Torah in post-exilic Judaism; method in Old Testament study; Old Testament ethics; Israel within its ancient Near Eastern Environment; God in history; king and messiah; divine grace and human freedom; Israel and the nations.

Candidates will be required to comment on passages from the following texts in English:
(a) Deuteronomy 5-15; 26-8
(b) Isaiah 1-11; 28-31; 40-5
(c) Psalms 1; 2; 8; 15; 19; 46-9; 51; 72-4; 89; 96-9; 104; 118
There will be an opportunity to comment on passages in Hebrew from:
Deuteronomy 5; 12; 26
Isaiah 1; 6; 40
Psalms 1; 2; 8; 48; 96
Candidates who choose to comment on Hebrew passages must also translate them. Credit will be given to candidates demonstrating competence in Biblical Hebrew

Aims and Objectives


To enable students to acquire a knowledge of the theological themes of the Old Testament within their historical setting, and to develop critical understanding by introducing them to basic issues of method, with particular reference to the study of three major Old Testament texts.


(a) Students who complete this course will have gained knowledge about and understanding of the major themes in the Old Testament, as these arose in the historical development of ancient Israel.

(b) They will have studied the literary and historical background of specific Old Testament texts.

(c) They will have gained a close knowledge of three groups of texts set for special study in English, with the option of commenting on selected passages in Hebrew.

(d) They will have reflected upon the criteria employed in assessing evidence, and the possibility and desirability of achieving consensus concerning them.

Course Delivery
Lectures: 16 given in Michaelmas and Trinity Terms
‘The History of Israel’ (4) Michaelmas Term
‘Theological Themes in the Old Testament’ (4) Michaelmas Term
‘Types of Old Testament Literature’ (8) Trinity Term

Text Lectures: 8 given in Trinity Term
‘Psalms and Isaiah’ (4)
‘Deutero-Isaiah and Deuteronomy’ (4)

Number of Tutorials: 6, plus 2 ‘gobbet’ classes

Assessment: Is through one 3-hour written examination, requiring candidates to answer a compulsory ‘gobbet’ question (choosing 4 passages to comment on) and to write two essays.



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